The Problem with Education is not Education

Back in 1918, Franklin Bobbitt in Chapter 6 of The Curriculum, made the following statements regarding the the changes needed in the educational system of the day.

“As the world presses eagerly forward toward the accomplishment of new things, education also must advance no less swiftly It must provide the intelligence and the aspirations necessary for the advance; and for stability and consistency in holding the gains. Education must take a pace set, not by itself, but by social progress.”

He continues,

“Any inherited system, good for its time, when held to after its day, hampers social progress. It is not enough that the system, fundamentally unchanged in plan and purpose, be improved in details…And yet to do the nineteenth-century task better than it was then done is not necessarily to do the twentieth-century task.”

After reading these statements, I can see that they apply to the current situation in the educational system of the 21st Century.  I would go as far as to change his last statement by changing the centuries.   And yet to do the twentieth-century task better than it was then done is not necessarily to do the twenty first-century task.   So what does this have to do with technology integration?   If education must stay in pace with social paces, then it becomes imperative that something, which, plays such and integral part of the life of our students’ social life; must be included into the educational institutions charged with preparing them for the life they will enter.   Using these tools in the proper methods will help to create learning communities which extend beyond the classroom, into the social lives of its participants.

It is important to remember that technology, and the integration of it, will only be successful if integrated properly.  Using technology as a replacement for the teacher will not help the current situation.  The problem as I see it is,  society still doesn’t place enough importance on the education of its next generation.  We still pay our teachers almost nothing when compared to other “professions” and do not budget enough for our educational institutions to truly make a difference.  I am reminded of a statement made by John Dewey from “My Pedagogic Creed,”

“Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

Continuing he states

“When society once recognizes the possibilities in this direction, and the obligations which these possibilities impose, it is impossible to conceive of the resources of time, attention, and money which will be put at the disposal of the educator.”

It appears, that society still hasn’t recognized the possibilities that education can have in social reform.  If they had, they wouldn’t be cutting educational budgets, even in difficult economic times. Maybe they would cut other areas, such as areas which end up in the needless loss of life.   Maybe they wouldn’t pay “professionals”, which play games for a living, in an industry that promotes gambling and rioting behavior, millions of dollars a year.  Maybe teachers would finally be paid what they are worth.  I am reminded about a blog post I once read about paying teachers what they are worth.  I have included this post below as I think it sheds light on the injustice educational professional are faced with everyday.  http://unbweaveable.com/teachers-just-babysit-so-pay-them-the-same

Are you sick of high paid teachers?

Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM
with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour.

 

That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children
X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your
kids!)

 

This $280,800 would be a great increase in teacher salary, yet it doesn’t even come close to what the professional sports industry pays its players, or the movie industry pays it actors and actresses.

I am concerned, as the world continues to move forward, we as a society have lost our bearings.  What really matters in life?  What should be the focus in the preparation of the future generations?

It comes down to money in today’s society.  The professions which can bring in the most money, get paid the most.  Have we forgotten, without teachers none of these people would be able to do what they do?

Society needs to understand that the way to social progress is through education. This progress will ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone.  Society needs to begin placing education first, not last.  When the teacher finally has the resources of time, attention, and money at his/her disposal, then humankind will be in a prime position to reach its full potential.

It is when this takes place that we will begin looking at technology as invaluable tools in the educational process and not as ways to replace teachers.  The cost of these tools will no longer be an issue because society will hold education as the best investment of the future, not as a place to begin cuts because funds are short.  Best practices will not be something we need to get permission for, fearing rejection because of lack of funding; it will be something educational institutions and educators will be free to experiment with, because they have the time, attention and the money.

I do not want to belittle anyone’s choice of profession or place one profession above another in importance.  I do, however, want to point out the disparities which are prevalent in our current society.  It’s time for education to take its rightful place in society.

I know this post isn’t directly related to technology integration except for the fact that once we have more money, schools would be able to afford more technology.    This would, in the long run, have a positive effect on the learning environments being made available to our digital natives.

Thanks for reading,

Shannon Doak

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